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EMI sue "Second Hand" Music seller ReDigi

Is the resale of a digital track the same as the resale of a CD? Not according to EMI who are in the midst of a lawsuit with ReDigi, a site that redistributes digital tracks to new consumers but also deletes them from the computer of the seller. Sounds legit right?

EMI's lawsuit against digital music site ReDigi heads towards a crucial conclusion for music consumption. The decision could set a precedent for whether sites are allowed to sell 'second-hand' digital music files in future. A decision that if granted in ReDigi's favour would leave labels out of the value-chain.

ReDigi launched in October 2011 as "the first legal site that lets users buy second-hand music files" - and argues that its software does not break any existing US copyright laws. The site sells music files for around 79 cents each - 20 cents cheaper than iTunes (They are second hand after all) - but does not pay labels any royalties. According to EMI's lawsuit, ReDigi takes 5 to 15% of the sale price.

EMI, backed by new owner Universal Music Group, claims that the first sale doctrine - which protects the peer-to-peer resale of physical content in the US - does not apply to digital music files. The firm claims that as these files can be easily copied, they cannot qualify as 'second hand' resales.

For each track infringed EMI are claiming statutory damages of around $150,000. In its lawsuit filed in January, EMI said that ReDigi allows users to upload tracks to its site, where buyers can download them for about 79 cents each.

EMI were denied an injunction to stop ReDigi operating in February by US district Judge Richard Sullivan. Capitol lawyer Richard Mandel said “It is a reproduction and it is a violation of the reproduction right of the Copyright Act." But is it? Reproduction is to reproduce, but as Redigi claim they TRANSFER the ownership licence and delete the original copy from the sellers computer, there is no duplicate track. “There is no copy involved,” ReDigi’s lawyer Gary Adelman argued in court. “The actual file is being transported. That’s how the technology works.”

You can read ReDigi's legal statements here. Let us know your thoughts on the case, would you want your music resold?